Tonawanda-native Bishop Gregory Hartmayer becomes seventh archbishop of Atlanta

Fri, Apr 17th 2020 12:00 pm

Buffalo-born Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., has been named the seventh archbishop of Atlanta. Pope Francis made the decree on March 5. The installation will be held May 6 at St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church, Roswell, Ga. (Due to COVID-19, the installation will be livestreamed for the public) He succeeds Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, who was named archbishop of Washington, D.C., in May 2019.

Bishop Hartmayer was born Nov. 21, 1951, in Buffalo and raised in Tonawanda, where his family attended St. Amelia Parish. He has two brothers C. Douglas and John, and one sister Mary Jo Kotacka.

After graduating from Cardinal O'Hara High School in Tonawanda, the future bishop joined the Conventual Franciscan Friars at the novitiate of St. Joseph Cupertino in Ellicott City, Md., in 1969. He professed simple vows on Aug. 15, 1970, and solemn vows exactly three years later. 

He attended St. Hyacinth College and Seminary in Granby, Mass., receiving a bachelor's degree in philosophy in 1974. He received a master's degree in theology from St. Anthony-on-Hudson Seminary in Rensselaer in 1979, as well as a master's in pastoral counseling from Emmanuel College in Boston in 1980 and a master's in education in secondary Catholic school administration from Boston College in 1992.

Bishop Howard Hubbard ordained him a priest in May 5, 1979, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany. 

He spent half his priesthood in education and half in parish ministry. He served as principal of Cardinal O'Hara High School from 1988-89, and principal of St. Francis High School in Athol Springs from 1989-1994, as well as teacher, faculty member and pastor in various schools in Georgia, Florida and Maryland.

In July 2011, Pope Benedict XVI named Father Hartmayer as the 14th bishop of Savannah, Ga. making him only the second Franciscan to be named an ordinary in the United States in the past 100 years.

During the eight years as bishop of Savannah, two parochial schools were rebuilt, three new churches were built, a new parish was created, and a new parochial high school was created in Albany. Archbishop Hartmayer was instrumental in welcoming Franciscan Friars, Missionary Sisters of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles of Jesus and seminarians from Nigeria and Ghana, West Africa, Poland, Mexico and Colombia.

As a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the archbishop served on the committee overseeing the distribution of financial support to the Catholic dioceses in Eastern Europe, was the representative of Region 14 to the Administrative Committee and the Committee for Priorities and Plans. He serves as a member of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc., as chairman of the sub-committee of National Collections for Communication and is a member of the Governing Committee of the National Catholic Education Association.

Established in 1956, the Archdiocese of Atlanta currently serves 1.2 million Catholics in 207 parishes and missions.